Christopher T. Stanton

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Christopher Stanton is an assistant professor of business administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit. He is also affiliated with The Center for Economic Policy Research and The National Bureau of Economic Research. Before joining HBS, Professor Stanton was an assistant professor of finance at the University of Utah and an assistant professor of managerial economics and strategy at the London School of Economics.

An applied economist, Professor Stanton directs his research at how information differences across individuals, particularly in regard to new products or markets, shape market outcomes and the provision of incentives within markets and firms. He also studies worker productivity. His work has been published in The Review of Economic Studies, Management Science, and the Journal of Labor Economics, and it has been cited by media outlets including The Economist, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Fortune/CNN.

Professor Stanton earned a PhD in business administration at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in political science from Emory University.

Christopher Stanton is an assistant professor of business administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit. He is also affiliated with The Center for Economic Policy Research and The National Bureau of Economic Research. Before joining HBS, Professor Stanton was an assistant professor of finance at the University of Utah and an assistant professor of managerial economics and strategy at the London School of Economics.

An applied economist, Professor Stanton directs his research at how information differences across individuals, particularly in regard to new products or markets, shape market outcomes and the provision of incentives within markets and firms. He also studies worker productivity. His work has been published in The Review of Economic Studies, Management Science, and the Journal of Labor Economics, and it has been cited by media outlets including The Economist, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Fortune/CNN.

Professor Stanton earned a PhD in business administration at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in political science from Emory University.

Journal Articles

  1. The Value of Bosses

    Edward P. Lazear, Kathryn L. Shaw and Christopher Stanton

    How and by how much do supervisors enhance worker productivity? Using a company-based data set on the productivity of technology-based services workers, supervisor effects are estimated and found to be large. Replacing a boss who is in the lower 10% of boss quality with one who is in the upper 10% of boss quality increases a team's total output by more than would adding one worker to a nine member team. Workers assigned to better bosses are less likely to leave the firm. A separate normalization implies that the average boss is about 1.75 times as productive as the average worker.

    Citation:

    Lazear, Edward P., Kathryn L. Shaw, and Christopher Stanton. "The Value of Bosses."Journal of Labor Economics 33, no. 4 (October 2015): 823–861. View Details
  2. Making Do with Less: Working Harder During Recessions

    Edward P. Lazear, Kathryn L. Shaw and Christopher Stanton

    Why did productivity rise during recent recessions? One possibility is that average worker quality increased. A second is that each incumbent worker produced more. The second effect is termed "making do with less." Using data from 2006 to 2010 on individual worker productivity from a large firm, these effects can be measured and separated. For this firm, most of the gain in productivity during the recession was a result of increased effort. Additionally, the increase in effort is correlated with the increase in the local unemployment rate, presumably reflecting the costs of losing a job.

    Keywords: Performance Productivity; Economic Slowdown and Stagnation;

    Citation:

    Lazear, Edward P., Kathryn L. Shaw, and Christopher Stanton. "Making Do with Less: Working Harder During Recessions."Journal of Labor Economics 34, no. S1 (January 2016): S333–S360. View Details
  3. Landing the First Job: The Value of Intermediaries in Online Hiring

    Christopher Stanton and Catherine Thomas

    Online markets for remote labor services allow workers and firms to contract with each other directly. Despite this, intermediaries—called outsourcing agencies—have emerged in these markets. This paper shows that agencies signal to employers that inexperienced workers are high quality. Workers affiliated with an agency have substantially higher job-finding probabilities and wages at the beginning of their careers compared to similar workers without an agency affiliation. This advantage declines after high-quality non-affiliated workers receive good public feedback scores. The results indicate that intermediaries have arisen endogenously to permit a more efficient allocation of workers to jobs.

    Keywords: Marketplace Matching; Agency Theory;

    Citation:

    Stanton, Christopher, and Catherine Thomas. "Landing the First Job: The Value of Intermediaries in Online Hiring."Review of Economic Studies 83, no. 2 (April 2016): 810–854. View Details
  4. Diasporas and Outsourcing: Evidence from oDesk and India

    Ejaz Ghani, William R. Kerr and Christopher Stanton

    This study examines the role of the Indian diaspora in the outsourcing of work to India. Our data are taken from oDesk, the world's largest online platform for outsourced contracts, where India is the largest country in terms of contract volume. We use an ethnic name procedure to identify ethnic Indian users of oDesk in other countries around the world. We find very clear evidence that diaspora-based links matter on oDesk, with ethnic Indians in other countries 32% (9 percentage points) more likely to choose a worker in India. Yet, the size of the Indian diaspora on oDesk and the timing of its effects make clear that the Indian diaspora was not a very important factor in India becoming the leading country on oDesk for fulfilling work. In fact, multiple pieces of evidence suggest that diaspora use of oDesk increases with familiarity of the platform, rather than a scenario where diaspora connections serve to navigate uncertain environments. We further show that diaspora-based contracts mainly serve to lower costs for the company contacts outsourcing the work, as the workers in India are paid about the market wage for their work. These results and other observations lead to the conclusion that diaspora connections continue to be important even as online platforms provide many of the features that diaspora networks historically provided (e.g., information about potential workers, monitoring, and reputation foundations).

    Keywords: Diaspora; ethnicity; outsourcing; oDesk; networks; india; South Asia; Networks; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Diasporas; Online Technology; Ethnicity; Service Industry; South Asia; India;

    Citation:

    Ghani, Ejaz, William R. Kerr, and Christopher Stanton. "Diasporas and Outsourcing: Evidence from oDesk and India."Management Science 60, no. 7 (July 2014): 1677–1697. View Details

Working Papers

  1. Self-Employment Dynamics and the Returns to Entrepreneurship

    Eleanor W. Dillon and Christopher T. Stanton

    Small business owners and others in self-employment have the option to transition to paid work. If there is initial uncertainty about earnings in entrepreneurship, this option increases the expected lifetime value of entering self-employment relative to expected pay in a single year. This paper first documents that moves between paid work and self-employment are common and consistent with experimentation to learn about entrepreneurial earnings. This pattern motivates estimating the expected returns to entering self-employment within a dynamic life-cycle model that allows for non-random selection in and out of self-employment and gradual learning about the entrepreneurial earnings process. The model accurately fits entry patterns into self-employment by age, with returns to entrepreneurship varying over the lifecycle. The pre-tax lifetime value of self-employment is positive at the median. The option to return to paid work is large enough to reverse the result from cross-sectional studies that the median man expects to earn significantly less from self-employment. However, after accounting for progressive taxation and the additional employer portion of the payroll tax assessed on the self-employed, the median lifetime after-tax earnings gap between self-employment and paid work is approximately zero.

    Keywords: self-employed; entrepreneurship;

    Citation:

    Dillon, Eleanor W., and Christopher T. Stanton. "Self-Employment Dynamics and the Returns to Entrepreneurship." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 17-022, September 2016. View Details
  2. Who Gets Hired?: The Importance of Finding an Open Slot

    Edward P. Lazear, Kathryn L. Shaw and Christopher Stanton

    Despite seeming to be an important requirement for hiring, the concept of a slot is absent from virtually all of economics. Macroeconomic studies of vacancies and search come closest, but the implications of slot-based hiring for individual worker outcomes has not been analyzed in a market context. A model of hiring into slots is presented in which job assignment is based on comparative advantage. Crucially, and consistent with almost all realistic hiring contexts, being hired and assigned to a job depends not only on one’s own skill but also on the skill of other applicants. The model has many implications, the most important of which are as follows: First, bumping of applicants occurs when one job seeker is slotted into a lower paying job or pushed into unemployment by another applicant who is more skilled. Second, less able workers are more likely to be unemployed because high ability workers are more flexible in what they can do. Third, vacancies are higher for difficult jobs because easy jobs can be filled by more workers. Fourth, some workers are overqualified for their jobs, whereas others are underqualified. Mis-assigned workers earn less than they would have had they found an open slot in a job that more appropriately matches their skills. Despite that, overqualified workers earn more than the typical worker in that job. These implications are borne out using four different data sets that match the data requirements to test these points and others implied by the model.

    Keywords: hiring; employment; Selection and Staffing; Employment;

    Citation:

    Lazear, Edward P., Kathryn L. Shaw, and Christopher Stanton. "Who Gets Hired? The Importance of Finding an Open Slot." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 16-128, May 2016. View Details
  3. Information Frictions and Observable Experience:The New Employer Price Premium in an Online Market

    Christopher Stanton and Catherine Thomas

    Unfamiliar markets are likely to have aspects or features that are learned about via experience. In the global online labor market oDesk, new employers appear uncertain about the value of hiring a worker. In addition, engaging in transactions appears to require high effort for new employers that tapers with usage. As employer experience is publicly observable and workers are differentiated, workers take expected employer uncertainty and effort costs into account and submit wage bids that are 10-percent higher to new employers. A structural model of worker supply and employer demand for inexperienced and experienced employers shows that two-thirds of the 10-percent wage bid premium can be attributed to the higher costs incurred when working for inexperienced employers. The remaining one-third is due to inexperienced employers' uncertainty about market value, which makes their hiring decisions less elastic with respect to wage bids and alters optimal markups. Because employment relationships tend to be short-term, workers' bids do not account for the longer-term benefits in the market from employer learning. A counterfactual analysis shows that offsetting some of the initial wage bid premium by offering lower platform fees to inexperienced employers creates spillovers to future demand and would increase platform profits.

    Keywords: Wages; Market Platforms; Selection and Staffing; Online Technology; Entrepreneurship;

    Citation:

    Stanton, Christopher, and Catherine Thomas. "Information Frictions and Observable Experience:The New Employer Price Premium in an Online Market." Working Paper, November 2015. View Details